Hearing loss is a widespread challenge for older individuals, but does it merit quitting driving? Driving habits vary amongst different people so the response isn’t clear-cut.
While hearing loss is a component to consider when operating a vehicle, a competent driver is still proficient even if they need to adjust the volume on the radio.
Whether hearing loss presents a risk while driving is an important consideration for individuals planning regular commutes or winter road trips. Is your hearing loss making you a hazardous driver?
Think beyond driving…
Early stage hearing loss likely won’t negatively impact your driving, but if it’s neglected, driving will become increasingly dangerous.
Johns Hopkins Medicine reports there is a distinct link between hearing and brain health. Battling to hear forces your brain to use valuable resources just to comprehend what individuals are saying. It is a contributing factor to brain atrophy, which leads to dementia. A person suffering from dementia definitely can’t drive.
Should you drive if you have hearing loss?
Driving demands good observational skills and some of that is auditory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drive with hearing loss. Among the approximately 48 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, most of them still drive as reported by the Center for Hearing Communication.
Driving with hearing loss
With some adjustments, you can still continue to be safe on the road. Here are some tips.
Quit putting off
Visit us, have your hearing tested, and consider how hearing aids can change things for you. The question of whether you should be driving can be eliminated by using hearing aids.
When you drive, be more observant
You will still need to be aware of what’s going on around your vehicle even if you use hearing aids.
Keep the noise down inside your car
This will let you focus your listening on driving without being distracted. Ask your passengers to talk more quietly and keep the radio down or off.
Learn to look at your dashboard frequently
It’s the little things that will add up when you drive with hearing loss. You may not be capable of hearing that clicking sound that your turn signal makes, for instance. You will have to rely on your eyes to pick up the slack, so get used to checking your dashboard to see what your car is trying to tell you.
Keep your vehicle well maintained
Maybe your car is making a strange noise in the engine but you can’t hear it. That is a major safety risk, so make a point of getting your car serviced regularly. For individuals with hearing loss, this is important, even more so than it would be for somebody who doesn’t have hearing loss.
Pay close attention to other vehicles around you
Obviously, you would do that anyway, but you want to watch for signs you may be missing something. You may not hear emergency sirens, for instance, so if the cars are pulling off to the side, you should as well. Use the behavior of other drivers to get some visual hints about traffic patterns around you.
Can you drive when you have hearing loss? That’s up to you. Your other senses will usually adjust to help keep you safe, which means it is feasible to drive safely even if your hearing has started to go. But if you’re feeling worried about it, make an appointment to come see if we can help you better your situation, possibly by using hearing aids.
Come in and let us help you improve your quality of life by exploring the hearing solutions that will be suited to your distinctive hearing situation.